Category Archives: Uncategorized

Won’t be able to ignore touch for much longer

Nathaniel Mott, writing for pando daily:

Again, I think of the way my nephew uses the computer. He wants to use a computer to do something, whether it’s look at pictures of animals (he’s a fan of rhinos and dogs) or watch videos on YouTube. And while he’s doing those things he’s poking the screen, expecting an image to expand or a video to stop or start upon meeting his fingertip. This is the way he interacts with almost every other screen he’s come across, and so he carries the expectation to the ‘puter.

Our discussions have highlighted our biggest challenge—finding an experienced MOOC instructional designer, or at least a platform specialist. As instructors continue to take the necessary risks to test this new pedagogical environment, colleges may not be able to meet the growing need for sophisticated support systems.

(via The Chronicle, Of MOOCs and Mousetraps, 21 Feb. 2013)

Many higher ed institutions might not have the tools or support to offer massive open courses today, but my belief is that these tools and support systems  are going to be a key differentiator for institutions going forward.

on the tension between freedom and an armed populace

From this widely circulated piece from the nyt’s philosophy blog (they have a philosophy blog!) on the tension between freedom and an armed populace:

Arendt offers two points that are salient to our thinking about guns: for one, they insert a hierarchy of some kind, but fundamental nonetheless, and thereby undermine equality. But furthermore, guns pose a monumental challenge to freedom, and particular, the liberty that is the hallmark of any democracy worthy of the name — that is, freedom of speech. Guns do communicate, after all, but in a way that is contrary to free speech aspirations: for, guns chasten speech.

This becomes clear if only you pry a little more deeply into the N.R.A.’s logic behind an armed society. An armed society is polite, by their thinking, precisely because guns would compel everyone to tamp down eccentric behavior, and refrain from actions that might seem threatening. The suggestion is that guns liberally interspersed throughout society would cause us all to walk gingerly — not make any sudden, unexpected moves — and watch what we say, how we act, whom we might offend.

Our gun culture promotes a fatal slide into extreme individualism. It fosters a society of atomistic individuals, isolated before power — and one another — and in the aftermath of shootings such as at Newtown, paralyzed with fear. That is not freedom, but quite its opposite. And as the Occupy movement makes clear, also the demonstrators that precipitated regime change in Egypt and Myanmar last year, assembled masses don’t require guns to exercise and secure their freedom, and wield world-changing political force. Arendt and Foucault reveal that power does not lie in armed individuals, but in assembly — and everything conducive to that.

My take on why the first iPad wasn’t mini

Dan Frommer and Jon Gruber both talk about why Apple didn’t lead with an iPad mini two and half years ago. They both talk about the technical challenges in miniaturization and the conceptual need to release a product that was more distinct from the iPod touch and iPhone. This might be part of the story, but I think there is something else at play. Think back to the iPad unveiling. Apple showed off their iWork suite for iOS and a keyboard dock. They were imagining the iPad as a work machine. With the keyboard dock and emphasis on an office suite, it almost seems like they were thinking in the same direction Microsoft is now with the surface. By the the time the iPad 2 came around Apple was able to get a better sense of what these devices are best used for, and it wasn’t office. The keyboard dock was gone and the emphasis was placed more on on the iLife style apps. It is quite possible that Apple just didn’t know what size iPad was best as they didn’t have the use cases nailed down yet. 

P.S. I am not sure if the miniaturization cost argument makes sense when Apple was already producing much smaller iOS devices (iPhones and iPods touch) for years when the first iPad was announced.

My notes from @jimgroom keynote at #pse12

Education Parkour: Tracking The Open Web for Teaching and Learning.

Let’s start at the beginning of university tech: email. University email address defined him.

Then shared folder. Then personal URL (we still use that at Penn State.)
Don’t lock up the best work at the univ, like in an lms.

We’ve gone from preppies in the 8os to preppers in the 2010s

Dump email address – like Boston college planned to do. Why do we make a choice for student with outsourcing, you are on google or microsoft. Why not let people use whatever they want?

Parkour as a metaphor for education and technology.

Rebull – do parkour in this arena – no way! it goes against the whole notion of freedom.

We don’t need to be the gatekeeper Don’t imagine the web like this.

Eduglu was a McGuffin – it is was nothing, but it drove the plot forward.

Blogs define the web, but people still look at you cross-eyed when you say it – cats and politics.

UMW blog hosts student run research sites and there is a URL for each of them. Students are populating the web, and it is rising to the top.

All ed techs should want to do is control the flow into an aggregated space where it can be discovered. Students can use any space they want.

Virginia Wolfe, A room of ones own. For women to achieve equality, they would need a room of ones own. Independence defined in terms of space. Does this translate to the digital?

UMW bought web hosting and 400 domains for students. True ownership. True control.

Thomas Jefferson thought that each generation should be revolting against the previous one.

DS106 students submit storytelling assignments for the class. At first Jim made the assignments, but students said they could do better. Now it is. Fits perfectly into the “Why wasn’t I consulted?” model of the web. One of the ways ds106 is a true web-native course.

University website is Not a brochure – but a fishtank. Should provide a view into the activity of community.